Southeastern Liquid Analyzers was incorporated in August of 1983 by Ronnie and David Roberts to manufacture and distribute a device designed and patented by Ronnie Roberts to sample and visually analyze the contents of underground fuel storage tanks (ust’s), for fuel inventory, contamination detection and quality control. Manufacturing began in the family garage with office space in their fathers law building.
In 1986 Ronnie began designing disposable liquid sampling devices made of plastic for the chemical, pharmaceutical and hazardous waste industries, introducing PP and RPVC QC Rods along with Coliwasa (Composite Liquid Waste Samplers) Samplers to replace glass samplers with a safer alternative. The market for these items grew and corporate contracts were negotiated with a wide array of companies, including several Fortune 500 companies. In 1988 a fuel sampling program was developed with the IRS to enable their FCO’s (fuel compliance officers) to sample diesel powered trucks fuel tanks, to slow the usage of non highway taxed fuel from being used in over the road trucks after it was determined that huge amounts of highway taxes were not being collected. This program has added billions of dollars in fuel tax revenue which helps maintain the highway systems, the program has also been adopted by many State agencies due to its success.
Storage and assembly had now moved to a building owned by our father to allow for more space. In 1994 the building was enlarged to allow for a plastic extrusion line to be added to manufacture the plastic pipe, rod, and tubes used in these various samplers for better quality control and better response to customer needs. This was also necessitated by product line expansion demanded by customers wanting to also buy personal protection devices, sample bottles, packaging materials, etc. along with the sampling devices.
The extrusion line was installed in 1995 and in house production began. Knowing that excess extrusion capacity would be realized once inventory was built of all products, a homogeneous product line was sought. In 1996 plastic reusable FPVC drinking straws were added and then LDPE straws were also added. These straws were sold to decorative drink cup manufacturers to be sold to theme parks, amusement parks, etc. The straw customers began requesting plastic corrugated drinking straws which required a different type of extrusion line, which was added in 1998, and additional customers were sought for this increased capacity and product selection. With theme park business being seasonal, year round outlets were sought and relations with several customers dealing with hospitals and cruise ships were established. Straw tips became required and an injection molding machine was added in 2000 to make straw tips in house. By 2005 the plant was running 24/7 and a third line was planned and ordered to enter service in 2007. This third extrusion line is also a corrugated line and it was ordered with the ability to manufacture LDPE corrugated straws along with PP memory section corrugated straws.
During this interim a recirculating water tower from Italy was added, which saves approximately 35,000 gallons of water per month, calculated with todays production rate. This new style of water tower, along with our in house recycling of rejected plastic parts formed the core of our efforts to go green. Motion sensitive LED lighting has been recently added to replace the metal halide fixtures previously used. These lights turn off if motion is not detected, that coupled with their efficiency, reduces our power consumption for lighting by an estimated 60 – 70%. All cardboard is also recycled to cut down on waste.
With the addition of so many products since company formation, we have transitioned to the acronym SELA, Inc. and are now adding a line of consumer products. The phone is always answered by a person, saying “Southeastern”. Our success is driven by our dedication to customer satisfaction which is made possible by our wonderful staff. Our corporate philosophy is simple but to the point. Treat every customer how we would like to be treated. Our customers make our continued success possible, and we are quick to explain to new hires that although we manufacture millions of straws, the final customer will only get one. Be certain every one is Perfect.
Thanks to our customers, we are again planning another plant expansion along with a 4th extrusion line slated for around 2015. Solar cells for power generation are being considered to again reduce our carbon footprint and go greener. We have added advanced packaging systems to bag specific quantities of straws and are considering individual straw wrapping as we offer more value added services.
David Roberts left the business in 2006 to pursue other interests and the company remains closely held with Ronnie Roberts as President/Owner. David Tatro has been plant manager since 2000 with Nancy LaRoach, the office manager. We all look forward to working with you to supply existing products or you may have a special need for something not yet made.